Booker T. Washington: African-American Educator

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Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856, in Virginia. He was an American educator, author, and advisor to presidents of the United States. During the period of 1890 until 1915, he was one of the dominant leaders in the African-American community. He was the last generation of African-American leader that was born into slavery and later became the voice of the black population after the Civil War. Washington won the wide support from the black community in the South as well as the support of the liberal white, especially wealthy Northern whites. His lifetime goal was to end the disenfranchisement the majority of African-Americans in the South. In 1895, Booker T. Washington delivered his famous “Atlanta Compromise”
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Washington is one of the first people in African-American history that took a public stand to speak to individuals about African-American rights. He sought industrial education and economic growth for his fellow people that were treated inferior; shunned when attempting to “rebel”; and silenced when making cry. Washington was the first African-American educator, as well as an advisor to presidents of the U.S. His experience as being born a slave, led him to do great things after he became a free man during Emancipation. His goal was to convince African-Americans to work to earn their civil rights, rather than demanding them. Moreover, he was not afraid to voice his opinions and teachings to a southern community, here, in our very own Atlanta-where years ago, slavery was a way of life. Washington delivered the first African-American speech, the Atlanta Compromise Speech, to an audience of white Southerners, at the Atlanta Cotton States International Exposition, which is now Piedmont Park. His speech had one of the greatest impacts in African-American history. Washington was able to encourage whites along with blacks that African-Americans can work their way to equal rights, and they should be given opportunity. He clarified racial integration would not be an issue, which welcomed this African-American’s voice to a white audience. His motive was to bring to the attention of northerners that there is improvement in the south when it comes to blacks being treated inferior. His speech was designed to motivate blacks to take action to better their lives, over demanding equality. His speech reflected the work he had done all his life, where he trained teachers and worked to educate African Americans to be able to provide them with a better future. He encouraged blacks to look beyond their role as a slave. He asked them to open their eyes to how they can “put brains and skills to the common occupation of life.” He wanted better for his people and

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